Check out our new paper on ventral pallidal encoding of alcohol cues in EJN!

Our new manuscript on “Recruitment and disruption of ventral pallidal cue encoding during alcohol seeking” was just published in the European Journal of Neuroscience. It can be access for free at this link. There are some important updates since we posted the preprint (located here) thanks to constructive reviewers comments, which can be read here. The data and analysis code for this project are available here. We show that conditioning with alcohol, or just alcohol exposure, has divergent effects on ventral pallidal (VP) encoding of instrumental versus Pavlovian reward cues. Previously, we found that the value of sucrose-predictive cues can be predicted by the activity of single neurons in VP, whether those cues gain value through Pavlovian or instrumental conditioning. Now, we report that VP neurons encode alcohol cues after instrumental conditioning, but not after Pavlovian conditioning. Furthermore, voluntary exposure to alcohol potentiates VP responses to sucrose cues learned via instrumental conditioning, and disrupts VP responses to Pavlovian sucrose cues. These bidirectional effects of alcohol exposure on VP responses to different types of cues may be one mechanism by which alcohol can bias decision-making.

Jocelyn Richard